Plus, how a wax shifted my own self-confidence. (Yes, really.)
Okay, quick disclaimer: I didn’t get ready for this shoot. Like, not an ounce of make-up. No manicure. Not a single heat tool run through my hair.
There’s a reason for that – which we’ll get to, but I have to tell you: I was nervous. I felt like I was opening myself up to an array of harsh, opinionated judgements — but that’s when I realized: Why are we taught to love ourselves first, the most, above all else, etc — and yet we care infinitely more about what everyone else thinks about us?
I remember having that thought as I straightened my shoulders and told Melissa (my friend and photographer), “Okay, let’s do it.”
“… But be honest if my eyebrows look like shit.”
The result? This is the strongest, most vulnerable, empowered and authentic that I’ve felt on the blog (in an outfit post) in a long time — since I dropped the news about Soul, at least.
Here’s something we can all agree on, no doubt:
The constant stereotyping of women (and men — any of us, really) regarding our appearance through every medium is, well, exhausting.
Since when is a “normal size” not normal? Or no, better yet — what exactly is “normal?” And when did we stop wearing, saying or doing things because we care about what other people think of us because we do them?
Earlier this summer, European Wax Center reached out to me to see if I’d like to collaborate on creating some fun content around the many services they offer.
I’ll be honest: I’d heard of them, but I’ve actually never been — or had anything on my body waxed beyond my eyebrows.
No brazilian, no bikini, nada.
Sure, I thought. Seems like an easy, relevant opportunity to try something new (and share it with you guys), right?
Waxing and summer — the two go hand-in-hand, right? (Remember that, I’ll mention it later.)
They invited me to come in and select a service of my choice, and off I went.
I made my way to the Center one night and — much to my surprise — was out the door 15 minutes later.
I remember the service itself being fairly painless and surprisingly clean — their Wax Specialists are friendly, polished and professionally trained.
They also use a hard purple beeswax that’s exclusive to their Center. (You can read more about their Four Steps to Gorgeous process here, and I should also mention — if you’ve never been, your first wax is free!)
What really sticks out when I think back to that experience, though, is how I felt when I walked out of the Center.
In a word: Weightless.
Legit, you guys. I felt so good! And like, NAKED! Free as a freakin’ bird. How is it possible that my skin can (make me) feel this way?
In sum, I felt confident. And it showed.
Fast-forward two weeks later*, I was sitting in my apartment absent-mindedly running my hand up and down my legs when it dawned on me that the message I wanted to share on behalf of my partnership with European Wax Center wasn’t about how waxing and summer go hand-in-hand. It’s so much bigger than that!
(*Two weeks, yes! My smooth skin lasted around four weeks — I’ve been keeping my appointments regular ever since.)
I grabbed my phone and posed a question on Instagram — “what tanks your confidence?” Or rather, “what are some reasons you don’t feel confident?”
The response was overwhelming. And you know what, you guys? The answers were all very similar — break-ups, societal standards, other people, rejection, etc.
A nice little reminder that we’re all in this together.
Here’s a few of the responses — my thoughts on each are a bit further below:
Five Common Confidence Killers
1. Physical appearance.
“How I look in dresses. I feel like people are always judging/looking at me.”
“I don’t even wear tank tops because my confidence dilutes when I look in the mirror.”
“Instagram models. Now it’s not enough to be thin, you have to have abs!”
2. Opinions of others.
“Hearing a not-so-nice comment about me from someone.”
“My confidence can be shattered if someone who doesn’t even know me assumes I’m not capable.”
“Expectations from society to be a size two.”
“Fear of failure. I see many pontificating success and not making it empowering, so I feel paralyzed and detached from my confidence and dreams.”
“Comparing myself to others. I have such a hard time not doing it.”
I know you’ve heard this, but I’ll say it again: Comparison is the thief of joy.
“Being on the receiving end of a break-up… Sucks.”
Uh, yeah! Check, check, check… I’m right here with you. Especially now with my job stuff.
There’s a lot in life that can make you feel like you’re having an identity crisis, you know?
The desire to fit in or present yourself in a way that’s “expected of you” is f—ing exhausting. We’re hardwired for comparison, but fitting in isn’t a measure of success or popularity.
Think about it: How boring would it be if we were all the same?
Oh, and the breakup portion? That stings, my babes. Ugh. I’ve been there recently as well.
I’ve wasted a lot of time wondering why I wasn’t good enough for someone; but in hindsight, I’ve realized that it’s never actually about me. I was just going after guys who weren’t available to me emotionally or who didn’t recognize my worth.
It’s never about you, boo, so don’t take it personal. We all deserve better than that! (And remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”)
Regardless of what it is that kills your confidence, your opportunity to chip away at it is today, betches, not tomorrow.
If you’re doing it right, you’re taking risks and putting yourself out there — in all facets of life; romance, career, fitness, etc.
Naturally, your confidence is due to falter from time-to-time — but being paralyzed by fear is no way to live your life, so here’s my advice for tips and tricks to feeling more confident right now.
How to Be More Confident (Right Now!)
1. Accept it.
Quite simply, my girls, you’ve got to accept that you can’t always win — and that people won’t always be kind. Don’t take it personally, though — let it be what it is rather than what you think it should be.
(Plus, that person is probably projecting their own negativity onto you as a result of their own lack-of-confidence.)
2. Strive for progress, not perfection.
You’ll find yourself in a never-ending state of discontent if you feel like you’re not good enough. Life most things, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey — and it’s like that for everyone — so don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or “end.” At one point, they were exactly where you are, so look at it that way and use it as motivation!
3. Embrace vulnerability.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but letting your guard down is a sure-fire way to build strength and confidence. I am still struggling with SoulCycle — even in the fact that it’s hard for me to talk to you about it. (Thank you for your sweet notes, DMs and e-mails.)
This is also what I had to overcome when I held off for so long in publishing my post about weight loss. Confidence comes from knowing you can (and will) handle whatever life throws at you in a given moment.
You can create your own life to some extent, but you can’t predict or control everything that happens in your life. Take the weight off your own shoulders and realize that the twists and turns have nothing to do with what you did (or should have done). If you stop being hard on yourself, nothing will be able to break you.
4. Accept praise.
Isn’t it crazy how easy it is to believe all the negative things people say about us? And yet we discredit the compliments? People are more apt to see you how you want to be seen if they suspect you see yourself that way. If you’re going to be your own harshest critic, girl, you’ve got to be your own biggest fan too.
Also, it’s okay to toot your own horn. Confidence is silent — insecurities are loud. Once you understand the difference, you’ll never worry if you’re being too confident.
(Treat yourself t0 a gorgeous, body-flattering white dress and go out and keep killin’ it for the rest of the summer. Here’s a similar, less expensive version of the Jonathan Simkhai dress I’m wearing.)
5. Don’t hide from fear.
Here’s the thing: Having a fear of failure and rejection is normal. It’s human nature! Learn to act in spite of that fear. The more you work at something, the more confident you’ll feel — that goes for everything, even confidence-building.
Fear is only present when there’s risk, change or opportunity. That’s good news, though, ’cause you can re-frame your fear and see it as an opportunity.
Like anything else in life, your confidence will improve with practice — and that usually starts with a mental shift toward expecting success (or deserving whatever state-of-mind it is you crave). A great opportunity to do this is through meeting new people. These acquaintances have no idea who you are — and you’ve got the perfect opportunity to show them.
7. Think of yourself when you’re at your best.
Think about it — when is a recent time that you felt at the top of your game? Like, really just alive and buzzing. You know?
This sounds cheesy, but like I said — I felt so good when I left EWC. More radiant, more confident, and I daresay with a bit more of a strut in my (hairless) step.
Am I any less of a person with a little extra hair on my body? No (and neither are you).
But did the experience shift me into a more confident mindset? YAS, bitch! EWC’s motto is exactly that, too — that revealing beautiful skin is the first step to revealing your best self.
Which leads me to my last point…
8. Do what makes you feel good.
… Whether it’s through dressing bolder, speaking louder, wearing make-up, standing up taller or setting and achieving your mini milestones. Whatever it is for you, find it. The shift might be imperceptible to others, but it’s your life that you’re leading.
EWC made me feel smooth, clean, weightless and as a result — more confident. The weightlessness that I felt after leaving the Center that day wasn’t just about having less hair on my body — it was a welcome mental shift into a more positive mindset.
With any cosmetic treatment, the choice is yours. All that really matters is that you feel empowered, comfortable and confident — which is exactly what a visit to European Wax Center did for me.
*In this post:
White dress: Jonathan Simkhai (love this version)
Earrings: BaubleBar (Nordstrom has similar styles — these are on sale)
Mules: Nordstrom (similar here)
Clutch: BCBG (this Kate Spade version is cute too)
Iron & Honey Photography